Google recently released a free and interesting Android app called PhotoScan for all those who don’t have a real scanner or don’t have the time or patience to scan their family photos. It is meant to be user friendly and it really is quite easy to use. But, it is not perfect yet. There are some minor glitches and some missing features which will hopefully be ironed out with an update. Also the image quality is sufficient for online use and printing of smaller photos, but not for enlargements. Check it out in my following video.
I love primes, primes are great. They offer a lot of advantages compared to zooms. But if they are fixed (as in non-interchangeable), they impose a limit on subject choice. This is the case with smartphones.
Usually phones have a fixed prime lens with a full frame equivalent focal length of 30mm to 35mm – a photojournalist’s of old favourite focal length. The “not too wide” wide-angle is a very flexible FL that allows you to shoot all kinds of subject. Some of the things you can’t shoot with it, however, are macro, landscapes with the super wide angle “look” and photos with a certain effect, like the circular fisheye effect.
This is where additional lenses come in. There are a number of such add-on lenses for your smartphone. Sometimes they even come in so called “kits”, consisting of three lenses – a super wide-angle, a fisheye and a macro lens. One of the cheaper kits is the TaoTronics Phone Camera Lens Clip Kit for 12 bucks. As you will see in course of my review, image quality isn’t always great, or even good, but there is a huge benefit in terms of flexibility.
In the past I was very skeptical of smartphone cameras. I still own and use a Samsung Galaxy Trend, released in 2012. In my opinion it is a rather lackluster photo taking device with a 5 megapixel pinhead sized sensor, very limited control over shooting parameters and some other annoyances, like slow and laggy user interface. It shares the insides with the Galaxy S Duos – you can find a list of its specs on gsmarena.
To be fair it was a budget phone at the time of purchase and is even less than that now. But even high-end smartphones – aside from only a few exceptions, like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 – don’t offer enough space for a larger sensor, better optics and thus significantly better image quality. Still, since my smartphone usage is limited to making calls, sending massages and browsing the web in those moments when I don’t have my laptop handy, I never saw the need to upgrade.
However, a few months ago my parents decided to make the leap into the smartphone era with two Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo smartphones. They got a bit embarrassed after seeing that even some of their technophobic friends now own and use them. This gave me the opportunity to test the photographic capabilities of a solid mid-range smartphone.